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Old 02-18-2006, 04:40 PM   #1
Roman Kremianski
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Maai concerns

Hello again

Wanted to ask some stuff about Maai "distance". I Was positive it's been discussed to death, so was pretty surprised when the forum search came up to zero. Read a few of the articles here on aikiweb, but still have questions unanswered - the articles seemed to focus on *what* Maai is rather than how to keep it.

I know there's a certain distance we keep in Aikido (and weapons) from which we strike/grab etc. Here's my question in a very short and blunt way: How do you handle Maai on the street? Meaning to say, a guy doesn't run at you and gives you a clean strike out of the blue. There's allot talking involved, and most of the time, the aggressor stands 2cm away from your face. Very comfy.

Keeping the general "Talk your way out of it" and "Don't be in the situation" aside, I would like to know how you would handle this.

I am no where near the level of training to see an attack coming from that close up. What exactly are my options? I would be lying if I said I never struck first just because I felt uncomfortable when my Maai was broken (way before I even knew what Maai or Aikido even was). Do I begin whatever atemi/technique I need? Do I back away? Do I just stand? Would really appreciate your insight.

Thank you.

p.s Sorry if this is in the wrong forum section.
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Old 02-18-2006, 05:10 PM   #2
aikiwolf
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Re: Maai concerns

Perhaps if you searched under "maiai" you would have found

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread...ighlight=maiai

needless to say, 2 cm is not correct maiai

If you can feel their breath, or tell what kind of deodorant they are/are not using... they're too close.

Being "in your face" is an agressive move, now you can't always forsee this, as with anything it comes with training--but you can casually move away as if there wasn't anything more natural.
My sensei always said "circle of death" referring to the point at which the attacker could possible engage us... once that line is crossed, you must have total control of the situation. Remember:
Aikido isn't always physical. It is often mental or verbal.

If someone just "comes up to you" on the street, it is relatively easy to tell if they are going to be 'asking for directions' or if they are going to pose a threat/attack of some kind.
Practice maiai safely in the dojo or with a friend. As always 'perfect practice makes perfect.'

my 2 yen.
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Old 02-18-2006, 05:30 PM   #3
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Maai concerns

Quote:
once that line is crossed, you must have total control of the situation.
Is that a less direct way of saying administer atemi and enter?

It's either him or me, and if someone might actually be holding a knife, I'd prefer not to give them the clear oppurtunity by making my move first. Is this the wrong thing to do? There are situations where talking just won't cut it, as alot of us have experianced.
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Old 02-18-2006, 06:13 PM   #4
koz
 
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Re: Maai concerns

Quote:
needless to say, 2 cm is not correct maiai
Personally, I'm a fan of the kenjutsu/kendo application of maai with inclusion of chikama (chikai maai) for close, tooma for distance.

Besides, 2cm is correct maai when someone is standing 2cm away from you in your face.

True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.

Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching, Ch48
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Old 02-18-2006, 07:05 PM   #5
Edwin Neal
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Re: Maai concerns

i tend to think of ma ai as 'proper distance'... proper so that the attacker can't hit me, and proper so that i can apply technique... this could actually be very close to the attacker if you are in his shikaku or blind spot or simply keeping them at a proper distance so they can't sucker punch you... as to not stepping backward... i would say not stepping straight backward, but almost always moving on an angle of 45 degrees backward...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-18-2006, 07:48 PM   #6
Mathias
 
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Re: Maai concerns

I like to keep my opponent at one of two distances. No1; At a distance where he can not reach you/punch you without having to take one step towards you. No2; If i am aware of someone being up to something bad and i canīt leave easily i want to be really close (your 2cm) If you stand really close and are aware of the possibility of a attack you can usually stop the attack before it is executed. And this short maai also limits the number of attacks.


/Mathias

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Old 02-18-2006, 09:17 PM   #7
Carlos Rivera
 
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Cool Re: Maai concerns

Remember the old AT&T commercial "Reach Out and Touch Someone?" (OK, if you don't remember this just work with the concept).

It is difficult to assess, some people feel comfortable with a distance where they can't be touched without their opponent having to take a step or move in their direction (thus you would be aware of their intentions), while others like to be "up close and personal" in order to stop the attack from happening (i.e., pre emptiveness, being pro active, staying ahead of the curve, or just not getting hit).

As far as Maai goes, my good "Abuela" put it this way: "keep your enemies close, so you can watch their intentions but not close enough for them to touch you." I could not believe it, but her wise words came back to me the other day at the dojo- perhaps a vision of my good Grandma.

By the way, she never did Aikido but she could smack me with the house slipper from 8 yards out!! And she never missed. . .
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Old 02-19-2006, 04:44 AM   #8
batemanb
 
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Re: Maai concerns

I did a search on "maai" and came back with 4 pages of results

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search...earchid=125970

Quote:
Paul Kozlovskis wrote:
Besides, 2cm is correct maai when someone is standing 2cm away from you in your face.
I want to disagree with this, but perhaps just from the wording. If someone was standing face to face with me, being threatening, this is not correct ma ai! I've already let them breach that by a long ways.
However, if I have done irimi, I'm now standing 2cm apart from them as a result of my movement and I am in a position where they have to move to continue their attack, then 2cm is correct ma ai.

I believe that correct ma ai is when uke has to take a step to reach you. The ma ai will then continue to change as a result of your movement during the interaction.

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 02-19-2006, 07:49 AM   #9
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Maai concerns

Quote:
I did a search on "maai" and came back with 4 pages of results
That is very bizzare. I clicked the search results link you provided and it says:

"Sorry - no matches. Please try some different terms."

Anyway Brian, so from what I understand, at that point you would enter and begin a technique?

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 02-19-2006 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 02-19-2006, 10:54 AM   #10
Peter Seth
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Re: Maai concerns

Hi all.
I think a common conception of ma-ai is seen as the 'correct distance' between yourself and your opponent. Where for example, if he steps forward and you step back the distance remains mutually the same.
eg: in fencing or boxing when opponents 'square up' to each other. This is all very well if you want to remain in a neutral position, or, as would usually happen, the person who initiates - goes forward, will usually overrun his opponent. All things being equal - you can usually advance faster than you can retreat.

In my opinion Ma-ai can mean 'any distance' which results in you being able to blend with an opponents energy and either dissipate it or use it to neutralise the attack with an appropriate technique.
Correct ma-ai can be anywhere, either within (near/at your opponents centre) or on the periphery of his energy/influence/circle/sphere.
It is very fluid and depends greatly on you ability to use the concept of 'sen-no-sen' (be ahead of your opponent - 'see' his action before he initiates it). Rather than 'go-no-sen' (to react to his actions), which can quite literally 'leave you on the back foot'.
I find that if you can 'pre-initiate or forestall' his action by decreasing or increasing the distance between you, by say 1/2 a step at any appropriate angle, you will 'mess' with his proposed distance and therefore timing, balance, intent etc. This can 'stall' his attack from the outset - giving you time to either run or take the initiative. This example is a good starting point and can be experimented with to give some startling results.
Dont forget to adopt a good positive but flexible form yourself - so your opponent is always at the point in your sphere of influence/energy where you can exercise optimum control, whilst he is in an imbalanced state. You will find that you do not need to 'put on' a technique - he will literally 'fall' into an appropriate technique position - you just need to guide his energy beyond where he wanted it to end.

This type of concept actually transfers to what aikido is really about - 'big aikido' - life. How you deal with everyday life in a positive but fair and balanced manner. Operating 'out of someone elses time' can allow you to influence events by creating balance in any situation.
I think I know what I mean (feel) - I hope Ive expressed myself ok.

Best to all
Pete
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Old 02-19-2006, 12:06 PM   #11
batemanb
 
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Re: Maai concerns

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote:
That is very bizzare. I clicked the search results link you provided and it says:

"Sorry - no matches. Please try some different terms."

Anyway Brian, so from what I understand, at that point you would enter and begin a technique?
Try this one

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search...earchid=126007

Imagine you have a sphere around you about arms length in radius, if someone you don't know or trust is about to break that, I'd hopefully take some action to avoid conflict. I appreciate that on a train or subway it will be different but the same principles can be applied. I think it's a difficult concept to put into words, It boils down to my awareness and whether I feel as if I am going to be threatened (something that you can only get through training - and even then........).

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 02-20-2006, 04:37 AM   #12
aikiwolf
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Re: Maai concerns

Having total control of the situation does not that atemi, and enter are needed. It means that when someone enters your 'sphere', your 'circle' or encroaches into your maiai---if they attack it is because you allow them to attack, if they attack you control the attack OR you diffuse the attack before it ever occurs.
Proper maiai depends on many factors, and it will be different in each situation, but what it comes down to is whatever distance your oppenent is, know when you can control them before they control you.
Just as you can intercept their intent and diffuse an attack with an eye-to-eye look, they can win the 'battle' by causing fear or apprehension in you. A good portion of any confrontation is psychological. We often practice the physical skills, but neglect having the proper attitude, or knowing how to calm oneself when the sh*t hits the fan. Confidence comes with perfect practice, but in order to progress, we must go beyond the physical.

At least that's what I think. But what do I know, I'm still working on the 'perfect' ikkyo.
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:55 AM   #13
nathansnow
 
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Re: Maai concerns

"Perfect" maai for a kotegeishi or kokyu is more at arms length.... but perfect maai for a nice koshinage is 2cm!!
Take what they give you!

Last edited by nathansnow : 02-20-2006 at 09:56 AM. Reason: spelling!

Nathan Snow
Michigan
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:03 AM   #14
roosvelt
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Re: Maai concerns

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote:

There's allot talking involved, and most of the time, the aggressor stands 2cm away from your face. Very comfy.

:
:

I am no where near the level of training to see an attack coming from that close up.

What kind of attack that a guy can give you if he's 2cm away? Isn't it more a hug and kiss distance than fighting distance?

I think if a guy stand to your face 2cm away and do lots of talking, he try to intimidate you out of a fight. Usually the guy is taller and stronger than you phyiscally. He already sizes you up and thinks he can beat you in a fight. Maybe it's time for you to back off and go.

I'm out of my element to give you any advice about fighting in the street. I'll quote a few things from a few books. I don't know if they're effective or not since I haven't tried them. I attempted to try it in a frirendly manner is a few local bar. But they got scared away. Maybe they saw the confidence in my manner when I try to make trouble with them. Or maybe the potential "victim" were way too small comparing to my size


Don't stand feef parallel. It may make you look taller, but it's not a stable stance. One foot front and one foot back is much better for action.

Don'g lean backward. Lean forward. Actually the common tendency is lean backward to avoid hit to the face. Thinking and leaning forward put you in a straight position.

hands in front, not on the side. put them together and infront of your private. It looks natrual and will calm your nerve. And it help you to move your whole body instead of your hands when action starts.

Do less talking. Since you only have one brain. Talking distract your from observation of your opponent. Talkin less may also reduce the tension. A fight may not happen if you talk less.

The common attack are

1. push you bakc with his both hands (this has been covered by other threads),

2. step back to puch you, you should step in do one of the following, open hand palm to his face, under cut to his chin with your fist or elbow, fist to his ribcage, knee to his fork, grab and squeez his nuts.

3. bear hug you (this has been covered by other threads).



Last word.

A few month ago, two 19 years old students were gunned down outside a Ottawa club. The reason? one of them knocked too hard on a washroom door when a ganster was taking a dump too long. A few words exchanged when the ganster came out. The ganster went back to his car and hold a gun outside and waited.
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:20 AM   #15
batemanb
 
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Re: Maai concerns

Quote:
Roosvelt Freeman wrote:
What kind of attack that a guy can give you if he's 2cm away? Isn't it more a hug and kiss distance than fighting distance?
Glasgow kiss distance

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:36 AM   #16
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Maai concerns

Hi Bryan,
I've been out of the UK for 28 years now and that was my first thought too! If a real fighter is in your face the next thing is a head butt and if they know how, it's good night bunny rabbit. I have the feeling that not so many people have been in street fights. They are short and fast and messy. Arms length is minimum distance (still a problem against a kicker, but kicks usually have more body mass warning) Don't believe that if a guy gets close and "woofs" in your face, thats all he'll do, either consciously or instinctively he's finding out your response platforms. As far as I'm concerned if someone enters my space (area just beyond arms reach) making hostile or aggressive noises they are threatening me. That means my awareness has already failed me and now I need an appropriate strategy. To me the essense of Aikido in such a situation is irimi, verbal when applicable, or more physical. 2 cm? HELP!!!!

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 02-20-2006, 11:00 AM   #17
roosvelt
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Re: Maai concerns

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote:
Glasgow kiss distance

Don't they have to move back and forward to give the Glasgow kiss?

Could you give him a Danish kiss by then?
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Old 02-20-2006, 02:28 PM   #18
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Maai concerns

Roosvelt: Thanks for the clear reply!

Even though his face is 2cm away, his arms are perfectly capable of just forward thrusts. Doesn't have to be some massive hook.

Thanks for the replies guys.

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 02-20-2006 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 02-21-2006, 02:12 AM   #19
batemanb
 
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Re: Maai concerns

Quote:
Roosvelt Freeman wrote:
Don't they have to move back and forward to give the Glasgow kiss?
Err, nope.

I've only seen it done close up one time (I was about 3 feet away), back when I was at college. A then friend of mine had had an altercation with someone a few minutes before. The someone was standing in line, then friend walked up and stood face to face whilst they continued their issue, friend then suddenly butted the other chap. There was no backwards movement first, left the chap on the floor with a split nose. As Alec said, quick and messy......

I for one do not intend to let anyone that I don't know or trust get that close to me.

rgds
Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:27 AM   #20
Mato-san
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Re: Maai concerns

Even if you don`t smoke carry some smokes and a lighter, the guy is in your face, say I need a smoke, hold your lighter at him. He will grab your wrist .....I think you know what to do from there.

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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